Clean water prices in Ha Noi are projected to rise by 35 per cent if a proposal by the Ha Noi Water Company Ltd receives approval from the municipal People's Committee.
HA NOI — Clean water prices in Ha Noi are projected to rise by 35 per cent if a proposal by the Ha Noi Water Company Ltd receives approval from the municipal People's Committee.
The present prices are VND4,000 (US$0.2) per cubic metre for the first 16cu.m, VND4,700 ($0.22)/cu.m for the next five cu.m, and VND9,400 ($0.44)/cu.m for an additional 35 cu.m.
Company director Nguyen Nhu Hai said that the current pricing, applied since the beginning of 2010, was not enough to make up losses incurred from rising production costs.
He also said that even with a 35 per cent hike, the company would still face problems as the price of electricity and chemicals continued to rise.
The company reported that in the first four months of this year, it suffered a loss of VND32 billion ($1.5 million), and consequently had to cut workers' salaries by VND800,000 ($38) per month.
Moreover, water prices in Ha Noi were much lower than in neighbouring cities and provinces, Hai said.
In Hai Duong City, about 60km from the capital city, water was being sold for VND6,500 ($0.3) per cubic metre for the first five cubic metres.
Since 2010, the company had asked to raise prices three times, but had not received approval from the municipal People's Committee, said Hai.
"Over the past two years, many other services including electricity, petrol, gas and bus fares have increased in price, but clean water – a daily necessity – has stayed the same. It's not fair," he said.
The climate was forecast to be hotter than usual this year, and combined with the economic crisis, the company would not be able to continue at the current prices, Hai added.
However, the proposal has met with complaints from economic experts and local residents.
Tran Dinh Thien, director of the Viet Nam Economics Institute, said the company's reasons were not convincing.
A few dozen dong for clean water per month was not a big issue for urban residents, but it would cause problems for rural residents, said Thien.
"The State does a lot to help rural residents access clean water, but the price hike may discourage them from using safe water and force them to turn to rain water instead," he said.
The Ha Noi Water Company Ltd is the city's sole supplier of clean water and has tried to take advantage of this by attempting to increase prices.
"The State should diversify clean water resources to abolish the monopoly mechanism," said Thien.
Vu Phuong Hanh, a resident in Dong Da District, said she could not understand why the costs of so many services were increasing.
"If this continues, our lives will become more difficult," she said. — VNS